A Year of Impact

Explore Ecology’s new Impact Report is here! Dive into our latest achievements and see how we’re empowering our community with innovative environmental education and nature-based learning.

Get an in-depth look at our projects and successes – together, we’re making a difference!

Explore Ecology is committed to creating a culture of environmental stewardship that will positively impact Santa Barbara County for years to come.

We are proud to share the value of our work and to show you how our staff, donors, and partners are making a lasting difference.

Who We Are

Explore Ecology is an environmental education nonprofit located in Santa Barbara, California. Explore Ecology educates over 38,000 children a year, inspiring them to engage with the natural world, think critically, and experience the value of environmental stewardship. Our programs combine art and ecology to foster creative thinking and connection between people and the environment. Explore Ecology empowers the next generation of environmental stewards in classrooms, on field trips, and in school gardens throughout Santa Barbara County.

Our programs include the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store, the Watershed Resource Center, the EE Makerspace, Environmental Education, and the School Gardens Program.

Our Mission

Empowering our community to protect and preserve the planet with innovative environmental education and nature-based learning.

Program Details

The Explore Ecology Environmental Education Program educates children at Art From Scrap, the Watershed Resource Center, and in classrooms and school gardens throughout Santa Barbara County. Explore Ecology in-class lessons and field trips are available for public and private schools, community youth groups, and camp programs.

The Explore Ecology School Gardens Program connects children to nature and teaches them how to grow their own organic food using the garden as an outdoor classroom.

The Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store keeps thousands of pounds of clean, reusable material from ending up in the Santa Barbara County landfill each year. All kinds of treasures, used and new, are donated by businesses and individuals. Art From Scrap provides low cost supplies for schools, art, theatre, and other creative community projects.

The EE Makerspace, located above Art From Scrap, is a new community workshop for artists of all ages, brimming with upcycled materials, work stations, cutting-edge tools, classes, and inspiration.

The Watershed Resource Center (WRC) is a community education center where community members can learn about watershed ecology and the importance of protecting our watersheds, creeks, and ocean. Monthly beach cleanups provide opportunities for volunteers of all ages to learn about local watersheds and ocean stewardship.

Coastal Cleanup Day for Santa Barbara County is coordinated by Explore Ecology and attracts thousands of volunteers annually at over 30 sites.

The Explore Ecology Awards recognize teachers, school staff, and students who promote environmental stewardship through education and action, who initiate positive change, and inspire their peers and colleagues in Santa Barbara County.

History of Explore Ecology

Explore Ecology is the culmination of years of evolution from our original Art From Scrap program started in 1990 as a volunteer effort by a group of parents concerned about the lack of funding for art programs in the schools, Over the years, Art From Scrap’s programming expanded to include a Creative Reuse Store, a large Community Arts Program, and extensive Environmental Education and School Gardens Programs. After many years and a name change to Explore Ecology, we continue to educate our community through programs that combine environmental awareness and creative exploration.

Contact Us

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